tv Christian World News TLN February 5, 2013 9:00pm-9:30pm PST
>> george: today on christian world news, egypt's second revolution. mass riots and violence break out against the new president. we have an exclusive interview with the new leader of egypt's 8 million coptic christians. >> wendy: plus, pastor in prison. iran sentenced saeed abedini to eight years for starting house churches. his family calls on the world to act and to pray. >> george: and a small band of christians shares the gospel in one of the most dangerous places in the world.
is a second revolution shaking egypt? hello, everyone, i'm george thomas. >> wendy: and i'm wendy griffith. riots shook egypt on the second anniversary of the revolution that drove hosni mubarak from power. more than 60 people died in conflicts between police and rock-throwing protestors. in cairo, police fired tear gas into the largest church in the middle east, where a field doctor was treating victims. they are also protesting the new constitution that they say does not adequately protect women or religious minorities. opposition partrts are calling for a new national unity government and amendments to the constitution. those parties also joined with the muslim brotherhood in calling for an end to political violence on both sides. >> george: egypt's coptic christians make up about 10%
of the population. recently the historic church ordained a new leader. pope theodore the second. >> wendy: the new pope says his country men need to love one another. gary lane brings us his exclusive interview from cairo. >> reporter: as egypt's first coptic pope in more than 30 years, he leads a church that has spread to six continents. blindfolded boys selected theodore as the successor. he once served at st. bachoy's monastery near cairo. he just returned from a spiritual retreat there when we met with him. >> i like the monastery life. this charges me with new energy. prayer fulful energy.
>> reporter: he says egyptians are spiritual, but he worries about contemporary temptations drawing them away from god. >> the spiritual health is now somewhat weak due to the materialism and due to the technology, modern technology. >> reporter: if their spiritual life is to be strenthened, egyptians must enter into a relationship with god, he says. but the country's new constitution may restrict their ability to do that. >> there is not religious freedom, but, of course, there are some restrictions, yes, especially for the building of the churches. >> reporter: do you think that's going to change? >> very slight change. very, very slight. not nearly the same. >> reporter: he refused to answer a question about shari'a, even though egypt's new constitution makes it the main source of law.
he did discuss the kidnapping of young christian girls. many are forced to marry and convert to islam. >> this is very sensitive issue for us. and this has wounded our hearts. >> reporter: the pope says western human rights organizations can raise awareness and bring pressure, but the matter must be addressed by egyptians. suffering is nothing new to egyptian christians. they faced waves of persecution since the first century. more recently, nearly 100 coptic orthodox christians have been killed in egypt since the revolution started two years ago. that's more than the previous 10 years combined. theodore insists the spilling of blood strengthens the church. >> through the blood, the church will be a live. it will be strong. it will be effective. in their society. >> reporter: the rise of
the muslim brotherhood has actually helped foster greater church unity. >> we have seen some large inner denominational prayer services of late. how do you feel about those, and what do you think is going to happen in the future? more of the same? >> i hope that they, that all of the christians, are one. this is my dream. and also this is what we find in the heart of jesus christ, to be one. the church to be one. >> reporter: and what bible verse encourages the new pope when he faces difficulties and dispair? he says it is 1 corinthians 13: 8. >> love never ends or fails. everything must be based on love. it is between two friends. my ministry, my serving. the church in every field must be based on love.
why? because god is love. >> reporter: he desires prayer for egypt as christians stand on the promises of the book of isaiah, 19. >> this chapter, le bless my people, egypt. >> george: bless my people, egypt. great get, gary. what didn't the pope answer your question about shari'a law in the constitution? >> because he is smart. he is very careful about what he says. traditionally, the popes have not wanted to be political. they strictly dealt with spiritual matters and that is safe. because in egypt, if you say something that offends people, they accuse you of blasphemy and throw you in jail. >> george: do you get a sense from the images that we saw on the anniversary,
there is another revolution brewing against mohammed morsi? >> yes. and thousands were outside the presidential palace, throwing molotov cocktails. young people who have no leader. they don't believe in any political party. they just want change and morsi out. >> george: and the young people, who are the core, the foundation of the initial uprising, obviously they are not pleased with morsi and his tactics? >> no. and they believe their revolution was hijacked by the muslim brotherhood and they want democracy, not the islam's. >> george: and who knows who is waiting in the wings in case another revolution were to take place. >> well, i think this is the start of it. >> george: terrific. welcome back, someone who has a heart for egypt, gary lane, our chief international correspondents. thank you for that interview. >> wendy: an iranian judge sentenced pastor saeed abedini to eight years in prison. after a short trial, he convicted abedini for crimes
against the state for his activity starting house churches. aabedini is iranian borne -borne, but raised in the u.s. >> every day in that prison is a death sentence. it is a horrific prison, and anything could had been. >> reporter: evin prison is one of the most brutal in iran, and he wants her husband out of it. now that pastor saeed has been sentenced to eight years in prison, she will no longer be able to speak to him by phone. and she and her children live in the u.s. she told cbn news she is focusing her attention on fighting for his release. >> the u.s. department is now in contact with me on a daily basis. they did release statements with the u.s. department of state and the white house that they would do whatever resources internally, and also internationally, they
would use to get saeed out of iran. i appreciate them for doing that. and we're working with them to see what avenues are available to us in getting saeed out. >> reporter: cbn news' jennifer wishon asked the white house press secretary jay carne about saeed's plight on monday's briefing. >> reporter: what can the u.s. do, what can the administration do with this case and other cases like it, should his family have any hope that there is anything the u.s. can do to help the situation? >> we condemn iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion, and we call on the iranian authorities to release mr. abedini. the state department is in close contact with the abedini family and is actively engaged on this case. we obviously have a variety of means, including this podium, to express our views
on matters like this. >> reporter: the american center for law and justice represents naghmeh abedini and her children. tiffany barons welcomes the government's statement but says they need to do more. >> our government needs to take the lead on standing for religious freedom, and making sure every third party connection and governments that can influence iran to up hold its rights of the citizens in iran, and also of that of the world citizens, like pastor saeed. we hope our government will take that stand. >> reporter: charlene israel, cbn news. >> wendy: our viewers can spread the word about saeed's case through facebook. share it with your family and friends. if you enjoy christian world news, please let us know by clicking the like button on our page. >> george: up next, the war in north africa, as french troops we take parts of mali from islamic militants.
>> george: for the past year, islamic militants have ruled portions of northern mali that they took by force. now french and malian forces are driving the rebels out of the cities and towns they have conquered, freeing the people who were forced to live under the horror of shari'a law. ephraim graham has the story. >> reporter: dall residents dancing in the streets, celebrating their town's liberation from islamic extremists. but that celebration soon turned to anger, with mali citizens looting islamic police headquarters, and lashing out against any sign of the 10 months of oppression they endured. in that time, islamist rebels amputated the hands of these two men for supporting the malian government. this man says islamic police cut my hand and showed it to the crowd. he says jihadists tortured
me for three months before hacking my hand off in front of everyone. a fight against memories of the islamist oppression also played out here, in the streets of a newly liberated timbuktu. crowds attacking shops once owned by rebels. there are also many stories of torture in this town in the last 10 months, like public flogging. she recalls, i wanted to die. it was better to die than to live through this. my brother was shot and killed by rebels last week for breaking islamic rules. with the rebels now done, france's defense minister is calling its three-week military operation in mali a success. ephraim graham, cbn news. >> wendy: incredible, isn't it. the special needs of children with disabilities are often ignored in developing countries. they are the discards of society. that's why a u.s. ministry is sending its interns to
africa so they'll be better advocates for people with disabilities. >> reporter: katie dickie suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, but it doesn't keep her from competing in wheelchair soccer or completing a college degree. he travelled to africa with a small group of interns organized by the johnnie and friends ministry. >> when the children see me in a wheelchair, even though we look different, we have the same way to get around. i truly believe that god has opened so many doors for me to connect with these children on a heart level. >> reporter: the team connected with more than 100 children at a special-needs school in uganda's capital. they encouraged teachers and worked with children in the classroom. the volunteer came to realize these kids are the fortunate ones stents told them of other children living in far more difficult situations. >> they talked about the children with disabilities in the villages that are
sometimes locked away or killed for their disability, and they realize how ble blessed they are and what an impact god has had in their lives. >> reporter: as the interns ventured out to rural areas, they met francis, who's family was killed by rebels. he lives alone in a dark hut and repairs shoes to support himself. >> it is really heartbreaking to hear this story. hearing all of the things he's been through, losing his family, and the isolation of disability, and not having anyone to support him or love him. >> reporter: the interns ga gave francis a battery-powered la lantern to light up his home and connected him with a church that cares for disabled people. >> being in a church where he was welcomed. they welcomed him in and celebrated him. i think that was just life changing for him, to see god's people loving on him. >> reporter: many ugandans with disabilities have been
told they're worthless, a shame, and a burden to their families. the visiting team brought a different message: that every person has value. they prayed for them and loved them. and they also shared practical care giving tips with family members. back at the school, the volunteers spent one-on-one time with students and taught them bible stories and songs. >> they just want to be loved and to spend time together. there was one little boy who i got to talk with, and he was telling me about how his parents just left him on the side of the road. he asked me if i could look for his parents when i went back home to america. and i told him that my parents did the same thing, and i didn't know my parents. and that it was okay because me and the other children with us loved him and jesus loved him, and everything was going to be okay. >> reporter: johnnie and friends hope that taking interns overseas will motivate them and equip them for people with disabilities and be an advocacy for
children around the world. >> that's what is happening up here in northern eu uganda. i see the families and the parents and grandparents who have not taken the easy way out. they have decided their child means something to them. their child with a disability has value and their eyes and in god's eyes. >> reporter: heather cells, cbn news. >> george: coming up, secret believers risk it all to share their faith in one of the darkest places in the world.
>> wendy: welcome back. way down in southern russia on the eastern shore of the caspian sea sits dagastan, the most dangerous province in the country. >> george: it is dangerous because radical muslims there are fighting russian forces almost daily to take over the province for islam. yet away from the front lines, a small band of
christians secretly shares the gospel among the muslims. [speaking a foreign language] >> george: 1,000 miles from moscow, russian forces are in a 20-year fight against an islamic rebellion. >> there are murders at the nations and bombings virtually every day. >> george: ultra conservative muslims want islam to rule this corner of the country, known as the northern caucuses. dagastan is the heart of the insurgency. back in 1999, a group of radical muslims attempted to turn dagastan to an emirate. the russian army stepped in and quickly stamped that out, but since then, this province, home to about
2.5 million people, has today some 3,000 mosques and growing. >> there is a segment of this society, especially among youth, that has become more radicalized. they want to follow a more fewer form of islam. >> george: one in three dagastanis back stoning of people and chopping off adulterers hands. >> there are some who are open and heard about christ, but we have to be very careful. >> george: on a recent afternoon, cbn news met up with a pastor of an underground church. they meet in small, discrete home groups because many of those who attend are converts from islam. cbn news agreed to conceal their identities for protection. how dangerous is it to be a christian today in dagastan? >> force some believers, it could mean death. for others, it means
enduring daily persecution or harassment. >> gord: on july 15th, 2010, a gunman killed his close friend, sulamanoff. he led the biggest congregation in pakistan. the local media had accused him of actively converting muslims. >> i wondered if i was next on the list. to be honest, i wanted to leave the city immediately and not come back. >> george: but he didn't. three years after his friend's death, he says he is more determined than ever to share the love of christ. >> i get routine threats from muslims. this is life. >> george: dagastan is more than 90% muslim. nobody knows for sure how many secret evangelical christians there are. they are focused in discipleship and church planning. 50 people attend his congregation. >> sometimes my wife jokes
that we won't have a church left since everybody is being sent out. once someone has accepted the lord, we disciple them and send them out. >> george: valatin is one of the church planners. we have taken similar precautions to protect him. he serves in a remote village close to the chechnya border. >> over the last several years, the area has become a breeding ground for muslims. we try to reach that before that happens. >> george: another believer was severely beaten when he tried sharing the gospel with a muslim girl. >> nothing is going to stop the work of the holy spirit here. just as god loves americans, germans, he has great love for dagastan. >> george: hosana siege teaches at a muslim school, and she can't openly talk about her faith, but when
they ask her, she has an answer. >> when i came to the school, i was told they hate christians. but their hearts have changed. all i can do is live out my life in christian love and leave the rest to god. >> george: dagatan is one of the least evangelisitic places on earth. for roman, valatin, and other believers who work quietly in the shadows, it is a risk worth taking, to make the name of christ known. >> we minister to drug addicts, and we have an outreach for young people, and we're training the next generation of young church leaders. we may not see the fruits of our labor immediately, but we are laying the soggy for future generations. >> george: you have to understand they face daily threats to those around them, yet they consider it is a privilege to share the gospel. >> wendy: it was a dangerous assignment for